About Layla


Layla is the story of a young woman whose journey forward is through the past.  

In the 1960s, Layla’s parents were protesting the Vietnam War.  Students were burning draft cards. Thousands were marching on Washington. The Weather Underground was taking things further—making statements, making bombs.  Now it’s 2005, her mother has died, and her legacy to Layla is an envelope of enigmatic letters and instructions for a cross-country journey that will be as disorienting as a ’60s acid trip.

Traveling from New York City to the Adirondack Mountains and Boston, across the country to Colorado, the Oregon forest, and a hippie outpost in the California desert, Layla falls deeper into danger as she gets closer to the bombshell at the heart of her parents’ past. 

Yearning to learn more about the father she’s never known, Layla, apolitical and disaffected, doesn’t take her mother’s warnings seriously - until it is too late. Confronted with a painful, life-changing choice, Layla discovers her own values as she comes to grips with the consequences of her parents’ activism.


• Read critical praise for Layla here.

Explore Layla

• Read an excerpt from Layla here.
• Download the reading group guide here. Warning: There are some spoilers.
• Read a Q&A about writing Layla with author Céline Keating here.
• Read Céline Keating’s author statement here.
• Enigmatic. Serendipitous. Perplexing. Read the story of how I found my cover photo here.
• Read more about the ’60s and the context for Layla here.
• Listen to music referenced in Layla here.
• Hear “Layla,” arranged and performed by Bob Stern (MP3)
• “Where’s Layla?”—a random compilation of Layla sightings!